Thursday, May 17, 2007
Delectus Petite Sirah Spring Mountain 2002 - $40-50
Dark, rich and extracted, the Delectus Petite Sirah is a big wine. The color is almost black with purple at the edges. The nose reveals blackberry fruit, smoky aromas, and slight coffee notes. The mouth feel is surprisingly lighter than expected because of its almost black appearance; though make no mistake it is still plenty endowed with tannin and rich flavor. Blackberry, plum, loads of dark chocolate, and some coffee flavors standout and are framed by the firm tannins. Finish is a bit tannic, but that’s a petite sirah!
Petite Sirah, originally a French variety known as Durif, is just that, a small grape that makes a tannic wine because the juice to skin ratio is higher than most grapes. The more the juice has contact with the skins when fermenting, the more tannin the wine will develop. Petite Sirah IS NOT the same as Syrah. They are not related in any way. The vines for this vineyard were first planted in 1911 and are the oldest in the Napa Valley. Miniscule fruit is harvested from the vines, about .7 tons/acre. Harvest is not easy either as these vines are on steep cliffs and require special harvesting equipment and patience to pick.
Delectus is s small production winery I first heard of 2 years ago when reading about new wines in a Wine Spectator advance release publication previewing some upcoming scores to be published in the next month’s issue. I had decided to check them out on a visit to Napa and was welcomed and treated to lots of friendly smiles, excellent wines, and a large tasting planned. Gerhard Reisacher is not your typical California winemaker. He's an eighth-generation winemaker who grew up in a small wine village south of Vienna in Austria. We met Gerhard, his parents who were in for the crush that fall to assist and see their family, his wife and children and their loyal dogs.
We tasted the following that day:
2001, 2002 and then from tank the 2003 Petite Sirah.
2001 and 2002 Stanton Cabernet (Oakville)
2001 and 2002 Beckstoffer Merlot
2002 Syrah Mt. George (south of the SLD in Napa)
Delectus makes 2 premium bottlings: the Sacrashe (Rutherford) Cabernet Sauvignon (which is what caught my attention originally) and the Cuvee Julia named after the Reisacher’s daughter. The Cuvee Julia is the top of the line bottle from Delectus. I was a member of the Delectus Wine Club for over a year and a half and enjoyed all of the wines I have received. I highly recommend their wines and suggest their wine club if you like red wines, especially from California.